As part of its planned expansion in Europe, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways intends to increase its ownership stake in Air Berlin to 29 percent, a move that would make it the largest single shareholder in Germany’s second largest airline.
Dr. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saif Al Nahyan
Abu Dhabi, UAE-based Al Bateen Executive Airport, the Gulf Region’s only dedicated private aviation airport, reported more than 150 business aircraft movements during the Etihad Airways Formula 1TM Grand Prix, which were held November 8 to 13. This represents an increase of 58 percent in movements compared with the same period for last year’s event.
Launch customer Etihad Airways took delivery of the first Airbus A330-200F Freighter at a ceremony on Tuesday here at the Farnborough airshow. The aircraft, which can haul up to 70 metric tons of cargo, will enter service with Etihad’s cargo business, Etihad Crystal Cargo, in September. It is on display for the duration of the airshow, after which it will undertake final pre-delivery preparations by Airbus in Toulouse.
United Arab Emirates national carrier Etihad Airways celebrated its fourth birthday last week by introducing an interline agreement with Australian operator Virgin Blue that connects its 45-destination network with 22 Australian cities through Brisbane and Sydney. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad will increase frequency to Sydney from one daily flight to 11 flights a week next March; it flies to Brisbane three times a week.
Etihad Airways will take delivery of its first 777-300ER on January 6, almost three months later than originally planned. The Abu Dhabi-based airline placed an order for five of the airplanes last December, at which time Boeing promised to deliver the first this past October, followed by two each in November and December.
Two-year-old Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways has started life with such precocious growth rates that it makes neighborhood trailblazer Emirates Airline look almost conservative. In the Gulf region’s anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better air transport market, Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways have continued to trump each other with ever more optimistic fleet expansion plans.